Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania is currently hospitalized for clinical depression, yet he somehow is still performing senatorial duties. New York University medical professor Dr. Marc Siegel called Fetterman’s behavior “very unusual,” noting that mental illness and physical illness aren’t the same in terms of the level of impairment. While physical illness can sometimes be managed while performing one’s job, mental illness can impair judgment and the ability to think clearly and rationally.
“So if you were to say to me, somebody had a heart attack, they’re still in the hospital, can they be a senator? You know, my answer would be depends on how their heart is doing right now,” Siegel said.
“And, in general, the answer would be no. That if you’re in the hospital for severe depression, that your judgment is impaired, and that your ability to think clearly and rationally is impaired,” he continued. “But we don’t know that.”
“If you broke your ankle, you know, nobody would think twice. Okay, he’s got surgery on his ankle and he’s recovering, but he’s performing from the bed. But mental illness, by definition, is an impairment of mood and judgment. So it would be highly, highly unlikely that somebody could do that, unless they’re just keeping them there to kind of keep them out of the way of the stress of daily living, but they feel that he’s up to the job.”
“Again, highly unusual,” Siegel added.
Siegel is surprised that Fetterman is continuing to do his job as a senator, joining caucuses and co-sponsoring legislation, and he would be concerned about the idea of him performing the job of senator while receiving intensive treatment for severe depression. However, Fetterman’s spokesperson said that he is getting briefed daily by his staff and is in communication with his colleagues in the Senate.
Joe Calvello, Fetterman’s spokesperson, told Fox News Digital that “John is getting briefed daily by his staff and is in communication with his colleagues in the Senate.”
“As we have said multiple times this will be a weeks-long process,” Calvello said.